Would You Switch Utilities Providers To Get Gift Cards?

Discussion in Utilities started by Diane Lane • Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    I see a lot of advertisements both in the mail and on television from assorted electricity providers in the area, offering pretty substantial gift cards if an account holder switches to that company from their current provider. Would this type of promotion tempt you to switch companies? Have you ever switched companies in order to receive a reward like a gift card?

    I am considering switching when my term is up, and if would depend on the reputation of the company offering the deal, as well as the rate and plan, of course, since I'm all about saving money. How about you?
     
  2. Ke Gordon

    Ke GordonWell-Known Member

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    Well sadly here in Virginia, we don't have de regulation so that is not an option. I think I will contact my state representatives and see if we can get that. I don't know that I am over charged by my utility carriers, but it would be nice to have an option. I am envious of other states that have these options.
     
  3. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    Maybe you could do an internet search to see what rates others are paying, so you would be able to see how yours compares. There are upsides and downsides to everything. I know there are all sorts of rates here, and I'd love to be able to save some money, but I still have a few things I need to do before I can switch. Even though we have a choice of providers here, the electricity itself is still run by one company, and apparently the others buy from that company and then charge different amounts to customers for supplying/billing.
     
  4. missbishi

    missbishiWell-Known Member

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    I have done this before but switching turned out to be more hassle than it was worth. We have a choice of around 10 companies but they're all basically the same. Nobody is particularly cheaper than anyone else. This means that there's a lot of competition though and all the major suppliers will offer some sort of free gift of cashback if you switch to them. This usually means locking yourself into a contract though so you're a bit stuffed if the service turns out to be garbage.
     
  5. strawberrydollar

    strawberrydollarNew Member

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    No, I have never heard of this in the first place. If I did have the option I would not do it. If the price was drastically lower, then it would be worth a second thought but to benefit once for a small amount to maybe have it backfire and end up biting me in the butt I would rather not and save myself the stress and money.
     
  6. Pat

    PatWell-Known Member

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    We do have deregulation in my area but I am not sure how much a family actually saves when they switch from one service to another. I would not switch just to get a gift card, only to save money on my monthly bill.
     
  7. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    We don't have offers like that here, at least not for regular utilities like power and such (only for cable/satellite TV etc.)

    If you also get a new customer discount for some length of time along with your gift card, it might be worth switching. If the rates are not really much better, I probably wouldn't bother. It can be a hassle to switch from one to the other, especially if you need to put down deposits and such.
     
  8. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    Grr, I lost the new offer I'd received, and the other one I had was expired when I finally opened the envelope. I'm sure I'll probably receive another soon, though. The deal is something like $175 after you pay your first bill, then another $175 gift card after a year. I think it's a 2-year term, which isn't an issue for me, as long as I have the ability to break the deal if I move, because rates differ by area. I've had this company for 6 years, and they are o.k. rate wise, but I think the other could be better. They're holding my large deposit, which is one of the reasons I want to switch, so I can get it back. They have a policy whereby they hold the deposit unless you can pay on time for either a year or a year and a half, which is difficult when you're on a strict budget like I am, and obviously I've never been able to do that. I think it's highway robbery for them to hold my deposit this long, and it should be against the law, but obviously it isn't.

    If I can get a decent rate with the other company, and don't have to pay a deposit, I will switch. If not, I'll stick with this one. I'm working on the 'on time' issue. It would be much easier if I could change my due date, which is something I'm going to look into, if I'm not able to switch soon.
     
  9. Theo

    TheoWell-Known Member

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    If the rates are comparable then switch. In the UK you can switch via an affiliate link and get cashback if you stay for a year and it does work out to be cheaper in the long run. I do think you need to shop around as rates do vary and also the terms. I hate anything more than a year, but if there are discounts and incentives than that makes up for it. I would do it as long as the gift voucher was something useful, in my case I got $150 cashback by switching gas and electricity to another provider once.
     
  10. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    @Theo@Theo So many are struggling here that it's become a way of life for some to constantly switch back and forth between/among companies. I don't like switching, because I don't like having to worry about terms and the price rising once the period of the deal has been completed, but I do think it can be worth it at times. It sounds as if that worked out in your favor, are you still with that company?
     
  11. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    Ugh, I've been looking around online at reviews of the company I was considering switching to, and they're not good. As we've discussed before, people usually don't leave reviews unless they're extremely happy or unhappy with a company, and I'm not seeing any good reviews so far. I am fairly good at discerning the crazies from the normal people leaving reviews, and can mentally screen out the ones who will never be happy, or who complain about anything and everything in the hopes of being offered discounts or some other form of remuneration, but the number of negative reviews is pretty overwhelming. I'm going to do more research before changing my service, and am going to start looking at other companies that might not offer gift cards, but still might have lower rates than what I am currently paying.
     
  12. Feneth

    FenethActive Member

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    When my term is up (like with my cable/internet provider), I always call them to cancel, citing the potential better rates from their competitors. Oddly, I haven't had to actually go through the hassle of switching providers. My current company always seems to come up with new incentives and better rates when I call to cancel.
     
  13. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    @Feneth@Feneth Who is your current provider? Some are better than others, and there are only two cable/internet providers in my area. I'd love to see some more competition, because I know wherever there is more choice is where the bargains exist. I'm coming up on the time when my deals end, and my bill will go up if I don't call and waste another hour and a half with them trying to jerk me around as usual. I am considering keeping the internet and ditching the cable. I've mentioned it here before, and if I do that, my internet bill will increase by $20/month 'unbundling' fee, which is egregious. I'll have to see whether there's some way I can actually keep the most basic service for $20/month, rather than waste it on the unbundling fee, but I think they would charge extra anyway, with receiver fees and other hidden charges, even just for the local channels.
     
  14. Feneth

    FenethActive Member

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    For cable/internet, I'm using comcast. There are several high speed cable and/or dsl providers in our area. One thing comcast always tries to point out is that X is cheaper but they cap you at 250 gigs per month...okay...but we typically use less than 100 gigs a month so it doesn't affect us either way. They can't claim it as a "benefit" if we clearly don't need it and I make sure they know it. Last year, I had to actually cancel service because they were being a pain in the rear. It had been disconnected for less than a week before a comcast rep called me with a great deal - a triple play bundle, including hbo, for less than I had been paying for internet alone. Awesome!
     
  15. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

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    If I'm happy with my current service then I wouldn't risk it for initial discounts and perks like gift cards. The new service might just prove to be a worse choice and I would regret it especially if I am tied up in a contract. If there has been enough reviews I can find for it, then I'd maybe more inclined to do so, but again even in this case I think the gift cards will be the last of my priorities in making this decision. If it were me I'd mostly just consider it as a bonus and a good opportunity to review my options but not much more than that.
     
  16. Sunflogun

    SunflogunActive Member

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    The gift cards would definitely have a weight in the decision, but ultimately I would do my maths and see on the long run how much I would pay and the quality of the service.
     
  17. MrsJones

    MrsJonesActive Member

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    I've switched electric providers twice. The first switch we received a Visa gc. The second which was this summer we will receive a credit on our November bill but we are in a contract for two years and if we switch before the end of the contract there is a penalty of 200 dollars. The reason for switching was because the company is local and I like that. The servicing fees are eliminated too.

    The servicing fees were added to the cost of the provider. I had a big problem with that. Most times the servicing fees were more than the cost of the product. The rep explained how a lot of these utility providers are not from your local areas. So my advise to anyone is to stay ''local'' to avoid the extra cost.
     
  18. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    This one I was considering does a lot more advertising than the other companies, and I think now I understand why. I've seen the same with Comcast and AT&T regarding cable/internet services, because people are so unhappy they keep switching between the two for deals, because they are the only choices here. After reading the nasty reviews, I'm wondering if the company is really bad, and that's why they are spending so much on advertising and trying to lock people in to two year contracts. I'm still looking around. The immediacy has passed, because the bills are slightly lower right now, but I'd still like to get my deposit back, and this company isn't inclined to release it anytime soon.
     
  19. Sunflogun

    SunflogunActive Member

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    Well, deposits are bad and to be honest I really see no reason for deposits to happen, they should be illegal. I think utilities companies should be obligated to present a clear bill and not use these deposits just to get our money.
     
  20. Denis Hard

    Denis HardWell-Known Member

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    Depends on the deal you are getting. If in the long run you'll be spending less then you could switch utility providers or if all of them always have promotions going each year then you could alternate between them to take advantage of the better deals you'll be getting. You wouldn't save too much but at least each year you sure that you'll save a little by money by switching utility providers.